Chapter 178: Snow Flames andů (2)
Translated by Erias
(pages are numbered based on the actual Manga.)
Snow and Fire (Conclusion)
Time trickled into the maze.
Beneath the heaps of snow, two little seedlings writhed, and snarled, but still grew.
And then one day their branches...
Began to reach outside their little garden.
And bear strange fruit.
Miss Farneze, if you would be so kind as to take this dance with me...
I too would be honored, Miss Farneze...
Serpico, come, dance.
She's far too choosey.
We're all here to get closer to her.
Eager to get beneath the umbrella of the Vendemion.
Is she just going to dance with that escort of hers all night again?
Who is that fellow anyway?
Haven't you heard?
He does apparently have a title, but he was originally just her little servant boy.
He's a commoner!?
It seems her father, Lord Vendemion, is his guardian. He certainly seems good at insinuating himself, at any rate.
An insult to my companion is an insult to me.
I demand a duel!
But since I am a lady, the challenge shall be met by the one directly insulted.
I thought so...
I guess this is a tie, then...
A splendid thrust.
Not at all.
For a commoner, you are quite proficient. I should have expected such from the guard to the mistress of Vendemion.
Miss Farneze, I humbly withdraw my offending words.
This wound was last week.
And this the month before.
If you go on like this you'll wind up looking like a rag doll.
Why do you hold back?
You could beat these fools with one hand tied behind your back.
You think too highly of me.
The idea of you as a rag doll...
Is strangely compelling.
When did this start, I wonder?
In some warped fashion, she began to view our relationship as something more than master and servant.
The two of us were raised side by side in the cradle of that little garden...
So perhaps such developments were only natural.
My upbringing on these streets taught me over and over again that revenge is a foolish thing that causes nothing but more revenge.
This is the best way to preserve Miss Farneze's honor without making waves.
That year you often saw them...
Street urchins of the holy city.
My mother's illness advanced.
Perhaps inevitably, she was admitted to a sanatorium.
She no longer...
For who I was.
Oh, my lord!
How good of you to come!
But all that grimness...
Had vanished from her face.
In the end, my father had not come to see her again.
And so she dreamed.
The day she began living in a dream was, perhaps, the day of her salvation.
After several years absence, the master returned again.
Do you object?
I think this would be best for you, Farneze.
I have heard of this tendency of yours to force a duel at every ball you attend.
You are my only daughter, and I think perhaps I left you too much alone.
You are sixteen years old, and it is high time your learned to act like a lady.
Your groom is a member of a certain royal family, and of a forgiving disposition; he agreed to our proposal even though he knew of your predilections.
Surely, I do not have to explain how the Vendemion family would benefit from such a match. Do you understand?
The forest owner had ignored the fruit, allowing nature to take its course, but once it ripened, was ready to pluck it.
I won't leave here.
I can't live anywhere but here.
You were to run away with me...
We're both so warped...
Of all the yokes that bound us...
Why was it I could not run away then?
The mistress has gone mad!
The mansion burned to the ground.
I never thought you'd...
We can't allow word of this matter to spread.
It would soil the Vendemion name.
The wedding is canceled.
Farneze was sent to a convent.
That girl is a devil.
Take her off my hands.
By special arrangement of the lord, I was sent with her, becoming a combination servant and supervisor.
In a sense, her wish had come true, but...
From that day forward, the relationship between us...
Had returned to that of master and servant.
Days passed in peaceful praise of god.
But the Vendemion name...
Did not leave her in peace.
This is indeed striking.
The legends say that the Knights of the Holy Iron Chain must always be commanded by a woman, but...
It is indeed an honor to have a daughter of the great Vendemion family in that role.
May you surpass our expectations.
For matters requiring experience, look no further than your second, Sir Azan.
Like any knight, he is prepared to answer any questions you may have for him.
It is an honor to meet you.
By chance, that winter...
Heretics set fire to the churches and nobleman's mansions in the holy city.
Though the Knights of the Holy Iron Chain served primarily as a ceremonial guard...
We were sent forth to subjugate the heresy.
That building! Company charge!
It was as if Farneze had been possessed.
She placed herself right at the front of the army as we hunted the heretics down.
This looked like such intense devotion to duty...
That it left her superiors speechless with admiration.
Once again, the same expression...
Lit by the light of the fire.
Burned within her heart.
It dominated her childhood.
She had found her place in life.
The heretics were not 'Satanists'.
They were simply people that believed in a heresy.
They simply objected to the noblemen and the churches monopolizing the wealth of the world.
"In God's eyes, are we not all equal?" they cried.
[Lost subject in this sentence.] Fearing of their status and power, they crushed them utterly.
Rather than let a single heretic escape, entire families were put to trail.
And regardless of the truth, the family was then annihilated.
Those we caught were almost to a man...
With not enough food to live another day.
Is what dominated MY childhood.
But no matter how ghastly the spectacle I witnessed...
Nothing could sway my heart.
You've managed to route their headquarters, I see. I never would have guessed they'd be hiding in a sanatorium.
Splendid work, Miss Farneze.
Mm? What did you say?
Why is my mother here?
There must be some mistake, my mother is...
My mother no longer...
Did he just call his mother?
His mother's up there somewhere?
She is not!
No members of the Knights of the Holy Iron Chain could be tainted with heresy!
But he certainly...
If that is true, than this could be a serious problem.
Is this my fault?
Left you alone to get away from there?
But wasn't that what you wanted?
I met my father and gained a title just like you always wanted!
Has that really left you with nothing but your own misery?
Just like old times, eh?
You were lonely...and so you retreated into your dream, clinging to God...
Because I hated you so much that I prayed for your death to free myself from the yoke of your existence...
Has my son served you well?
I trust he has done nothing to disgrace your name?
Is that why?
You light her.
Show us the proof...
That she is not your mother.
Swear to it again.
I am your master.
Your only master.
And from now on.
The two of us...
We buried something.
We burned something...
We were set loose from something...
We were bound by something.
Winter, three years later.
And that holy city...
Are probably still buried beneath snow.
We've escaped the maze I never thought to leave...
And now journey to distant lands beneath the open skies.
It's down to flurries. Let's proceed.
Miss Farneze is chasing the Black Swordsman.
As if he were a fire that can melt away all the snow.
On the snow...
We leave our footprints.